Michael Crabtree, famous slayer of all things Longhorn and one of the best wide receivers in college football last year, is apparently upset that he isn’t getting paid as well as Darrius Heyward-Bey. From Yahoo! Sports:
“In April, the cross-bay San Francisco 49ers rejoiced when the Raiders selected wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey(notes) seventh overall. It allowed the Niners to select Michael Crabtree(notes), a pass-catching machine out of Texas Tech, at No. 10. Predraft hype rated Crabtree higher than Heyward-Bey.
Now the Niners’ dream pick has turned nightmare. In a convoluted strategy, Crabtree is threatening to sit out the 2009 season by negotiating off mock drafts which didn’t occur rather than the real one that did.
Crabtree has decided that he shouldn’t have to be paid less because – based on all the made-up, predicted drafts – Al Davis made a mistake. He wants to be paid more than Heyward-Bey, demanding his contract reflect that it was actually he who was the higher selected receiver.”
Some are hailing this as groundbreaking, an innovative way to get paid what you are actually worth regardless of where you were picked. I think most people would agree however that perception is NOT reality, and while the NFL rookie pay scale is largely based on the perception of an individual team, this is the first time that an individual player has demanded to be paid based on mock drafts and media speculation.
Let me count all the ways that this is stupid:
- It hurts his professional career. There is no substitute for game experience to keep yourself in shape and ready to contribute, so sitting out a year is only going to make Crabtree a worse wide receiver next year. Add that on to the public perception hit Crabtree will take with many front offices and it’s questionable that he’ll even get drafted anywhere near 10th. If he actually goes through with this bluff, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he will be lucky to see an NFL field in the next several years.
- It hurts financially. I don’t know exactly what his salary is supposed to be, but he’s demanding at least the amount of money the Raiders gave Howard-Bey, $23 odd million for five years. Assuming Crabtree gets anything NEAR this, considering he was only three picks later, he’s throwing away a literal fortune by sitting out a year. Anyone who’s taken a high school economics class knows that the key to making money is to invest or save as early as possible. How much more money would Crabtree end up with at age 60 if he had started investing $20 million (for example) at age 20 instead of $23 million at age 21? Say he invests 1% of his salary from age 20 to 26, then never touches the money again. At an interest rate of 4% he will end up with $55 million at age 60, not bad. If he manages to get the contract he wants just one year later, with the same parameters he will end up with $52 million, also not bad. But that’s assuming everything goes perfectly for him. Say he waits a year and then, due to public image and questions about character, gets drafted late in the first round and only gets $8 million for five years, then using those same investment parameters he will only end up with $21 million by age 60. Basically, Crabtree is taking a huge gamble in his financial future by not taking the guaranteed money. I guess you could look at it like “$21 million at retirement ain’t so bad” but again this is assuming that he has sound financial habits – how many players do we hear of that went from millionaire to hobo after the paychecks stopped coming?
- It hurts his reputation. I know a lot of athletes don’t really care that much if they are liked, but surely many of his fans are upset that their favorite athlete is being so greedy and arrogant. Whether or not he ultimately cares if people buy his jersey, I’ll guarantee you his endorsement providers do. Is Nike or Gatorade going to put this guy on TV? Maybe, but you don’t see many so-called divas on prime time commercials. Keyshawn, TO, Michael Irving, Jeremy Shockey… more likely to be starring in reality TV shows on VH1. I know in my mind Crabtree just went from “talented and exciting new prospect” to “arrogant and unproven fool.”
Hopefully some good comes out of this. If the 49ers hold firm (please don’t cave in!) and Crabtree ends up going through with his bluff, well then he’s an idiot in my opinion. I suspect in the end he will give in and play for San Francisco, and all of this will have been just some stupid fan ranting on a blog. I personally hope this all blows out of control and the NFL will do something about their crazy rookie pay scale. Either way, Michael Crabtree has lost a fan.